Amagwinya is a deep fried bread, that the Xhosian Mamas have perfected. The first time I heard about it, and heard my husband rave about how good it was, I knew I wanted to learn how to make it.
I kinda hinted around, and sure enough found my way into Mama Johnson’s house to learn how to make this delicious bread.
I have to admit, I had a dual purpose for this trip, to learn how to make the bread as well as practice the Xhosa language; but upon entering the house, I knew my lessons would be far more than just of bread and language.
I did learn how to make the bread, with a lot of hand motions, laughter, and with the few Xhosa words I knew I was able to jot down a recipe. Practice kneading the Xhosa way, figure out how to deep fry not using a stove–It was an incredible lesson.
I did practice the language. Words for “Sugar”,” stir”, “really hot”, “tablespoon”, and “yummy” have now been entered into my vocabulary (not saying I remember them without looking at my notes though 🙂
But the most valuable lessons came from watching and listening to these super special ladies.:
Lesson 1: Laughter
Oh man, I wish I could bottle it up for you. They laughed, giggled and teased with each other the entire time. I honestly did not know what was so funny half the time, but I did know that they were happy. They didn’t need the latest gadget to make them happy, they didn’t need to have steak in front of them to make them happy, they did not need money nor a big house to make them happy. They just were simply happy…really happy.
Lesson 2: Hospitality
At first I thought there was just a special gathering to help me with the bread making, but soon discovered that Mama J regularly has these ladies and others in her house. They knew their way around her kitchen. They seriously were a family. During the 2 hours we were there, her door opened and closed for others coming in for a visit. She thanked me over and over for coming to her home, in which I would respond, no I need to thank you! She told me in broken English that she would sleep well tonight because a white woman worked in her kitchen. It was such an amazing lesson in hospitality.
Lesson 3: Everything is centered around God
I noticed that the entire evening they seemed paranoid about time. They knew Mark was coming back to get me in a couple of hours. The bread was finished with at least 30 minutes to spare, and then I discovered why the rush. Mama Johnson handed me an English Bible, and told me to speak to them from God’s Word. I did what she said :). I was able to share, howbeit with no preparation at all, a little from my heart and then ask them in return to share their testimony with me. **** DISCLAIMER : the last 30 minutes of the evening involved a lot of English, I barely can speak sentences yet***** They each have such a sweet testimony: an abusive husband to a sweet relationship with Christ; or an addiction and living on the street to now a Pastor’s wife. Oh the love for Christ that radiated from their faces! They were all so thankful that Kevin and Corli came to their part of town, but more than that they were thankful that Christ saved them from their sin and eternal hell.
I wasn’t alone that evening. I took my 11 year old daughter with me. I was so very thankful that she was able to witness the fact that making delicious food doesn’t require a kitchen aid: but just a simple coffee cup and a spoon. It made my heart sing when she was taught how to fix a cool head wrap. But more than all of that, it was the fact that she saw how important it was that we were there, and how much these women love Christ. In the words of Mama J… “Thank you JESUS”
Missionaries often head to the field ready to teach, we have our notebooks full of lessons we want to share. But often, we just need to sit back and be taught some things ourselves.
Love from South Africa,